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09th Nov 2022

No evidence Archie Battersbee was taking part in online challenge, coroner says

Charlie Herbert

Police found messages on his phone reflecting a ‘very low mood’

A coroner has said that there is no evidence to suggest that Archie Battersbee was taking part in an online challenge when he fatally injured himself.

Archie died on August 6 when his life support was withdrawn following a long and protracted legal battle from his family to extend his treatment.

His mother, Hollie Dance, found the 12 year-old unconscious at their home in Southend on April 7. He spent the next four months being treated at Royal London Hospital, where doctors declared him “brain-stem dead” and said he had suffered catastrophic brain injuries.

Dance said she believed he had been taking part in an online ‘blackout’ challenge.

But at a pre-inquest hearing in Chelmsford, Essex’s senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said there was “no evidence at this stage to substantiate the concern” that he had been taking part in any online challenge.

The pre-inquest review heard that Essex Police found messages on the boy’s phone reflecting a “very low mood,” the BBC reports.

Det Insp Sarah Weeks said the force downloaded information from Archie’s phone on June 13.

She said there was no evidence of him filming any video on the day he was found unconscious, and there were no photographs or videos on the phone to suggest he had been taking part in an online challenge.

Officers said they found YouTube and internet searches related to his interests, like mixed martial arts.

Following a “full forensic download” of the phone, Det Insp Sarah Weeks said: “There are a series of messages which reflect Archie’s mood.

“This has only been received this morning so we will look to prepare a full report.”

The coroner said: “It’s low mood we’re looking at here, very low mood.”

Earlier this year, the pre-inquest heard that Archie’s provisional cause of death was a “catastrophic” brain injury, and that “multiple professionals” and second opinions confirmed he had suffered “severe irreversible brain injury.”

A full inquest is to be held in Chelmsford on February 7.